Captain's defense presents 200 challenges to assessment

Francesco Schettino fighting Costa Concordia shipwreck charges

Captain's defense presents 200 challenges to assessment

(ANSA) - Grosseto, October 18 - Defense for the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner presented a fusillade of 200 challenges to the technical assessment of the shipwreck last January that killed 32. Ex-captain Francesco Schettino's defense team, led by lawyer Bruno Leporatti, requested clarification on 200 "observations" in a court hearing dedicated to the defense. An expert witness declared on Tuesday that Schettino had plenty of time and room to avoid gashing the cruise liner on a rock reef but failed to react. "There was plenty of space, a huge amount of water and time to approach and take (the ship) out of danger," testified Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone. Hearings began Monday to decide whether to indict Schettino and others on criminal charges related to the cruise ship that ran aground on the Tuscan island of Giglio. Schettino is under investigation for multiple manslaughter, abandoning his post before the evacuation of all 4,200 passengers and crew had been completed, and failing to communicate properly with maritime authorities. Schettino's second in command, Ciro Ambrosio, officer Salvatore Ursino and the head of the Costa Cruises fleet, Roberto Ferrarini, are also among a group under investigation. An 11th person - a ship officer - was added to the list well after the inquiry got underway in March, the newspaper Il Corriere Fiorentino reported on Thursday. The proceedings are taking place in the Teatro Moderno in the Tuscan town of Grosseto. The judge who oversaw preliminary investigations, Valeria Montesarchio, is also presiding over hearings, which are expected to last about seven days.

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